Bulldog Investment Company
Bulldog Investment Company was established in 2009 as an on-campus intern program designed to teach key concepts that every student should know for a successful career in business.
“Can you really explain to a fish what it’s like to walk on land?
One day on land is worth a thousand years of talking about it.”
Despite the name, the first goal of Bulldog is not stock trading—or even portfolio management. Rather, the internship is designed to teach students how to critically think and, in the process, read and interpret financial statements. Furthermore, students must be able to take the analyzed information and present their research in a comprehensive manner. In doing so, students have an opportunity to master not only critical thinking skills but also presentation and public speaking skills.
ANYONE CAN DO IT:
Although a few students may have a career in portfolio management or investing—most will not. However, every student will work for a company that produces financial statements—whether for profit or non-profit. The financial statements are the key to evaluating the health and stability of any company.
If students learn to read and interpret financial statements—and are able to differentiate between a great company and all others—that student can effectively add value to any organization.
In establishing high performance criteria, the standards used by Warren Buffett in his management of Berkshire Hathaway are the same standards used in Bulldog. Not only does Buffett’s investment track record speak for itself, but Buffett also sets high standards for ethical behavior giving concrete evidence that integrity and strong business performance are not mutually exclusive. In fact, Buffett would argue that integrity and business success must go hand in hand.
I am a better investor because I am a businessman and a
better businessman because I am an investor.”
DISPLAY YOUR WORK:
Once students master the Buffett criteria—students look for investment opportunities for inclusion in their own portfolio.
Students are broken into teams who research investment ideas meeting Buffett’s criteria. These teams present their best investment ideas to the Bulldog Board of Directors once a month. The idea that best meets Buffett’s criteria and is shown to be the best value is the winning presentation.
The winning presentation is funded with $5,000 in cash for inclusion in the Bulldog portfolio. As such, it is truly a student managed portfolio. Furthermore, since the program is funded with actual cash there is a verifiable track record of what has been done and accomplished.
Most of the nation’s top MBA programs offer a student managed investment program. However, very few undergraduate programs offer a program of this nature—especially one that allows students to manage actual cash in a real portfolio. This gives TLU students a competitive advantage as this goes well beyond a simulation.
All student presentations are documented on the Bulldog Investment Company website. As such, students not only gain invaluable experience, but also a "real world" reference point when they are interviewing for jobs. This adds credibility and depth to any student’s resume.
At a minimum, students are required to commit at least two consecutive semesters—preferably the fall and spring semesters. Although this was a requirement, most students participating in Bulldog do so for longer than one year. The best students stay in the program as long as possible since the learning curve is so steep. So far, the longest tenured student intern served three and a half years.
Students must stay in good standing with the university. Additionally, student interns must attend class and show a true desire to learn about business, financial analysis and investing.
Bulldog meets every Friday from 2:00 P.M. to about 4:00 P.M in Tschoepe Hall, Room 130. Student interns will have additional work assignments to prepare for group presentations between meetings.
Although most people assume Bulldog is only for business majors—it is not. The intern program has had several non-business majors successfully participate. The one thing they must possess is a desire to work hard and participate. Furthermore, there are no classification requirements—sophomores, juniors and seniors from all majors are welcome.
Student interns can participate in either a non-credit or for-credit manner. If enrolling for credit, the student must enroll in either BA 419, BA 429 or BA 439—depending upon whether they are requesting one, two or three hours of credit. If a student wants credit, they must coordinate with their advisor and submit necessary papers on what they have learned.
Bulldog extends well beyond just financial analysis. Each semester Bulldog Investment Company hosts individual’s that epitomize excellence in business. So far, speakers/events have been:
- Don Yacktman, President/CEO Yacktman Funds. Don Yacktman has been named Morningstars fund manager of the year and his firm currently manages in excess of $25 billion.
- Ed Lette, President/CEO Business Bank of Texas. Ed Lette has now successfully served as the leader of five different banks in Texas. Ed is also a CPA and has also successfully run a real estate management firm.
- Bill Rankin, Chief Financial Officer/Paul Kruse, Chief Executive Officer Blue Bell Creameries. Bill has lectured on campus and Bill and Paul have hosted the Bulldog interns for a full tour of the Blue Bell Creameries along with an extensive question/answer session in the Blue Bell executive board room.
- Arnold Van Den Berg, Chief Executive Officer, Century Management. Arnold truly embodies what it means to be self-made, successful man. Despite never having gone to college, Arnold turned a $2,500 loan into a $2 billion asset management firm that is widely recognized for its value prowess.
- Marvin Rush, Founder and Chairman, of Rush Enterprises. Rush Enterprises is the largest medium and heavy duty truck dealer in the world. Marvin had his first job at age six and only has one speed--"on."
- Michael Shearn, Managing Partner of the Time Value of Money Fund based out of Austin and author of The Investment Checklist: The Art of in Depth Research. Very humble and unassuming, Michael shared with the interns mistakes that he has made over the years, and the golden rules on life and investing he has learnt in the process.
- Al Silva, the Texas Lutheran alumnus of 1978 is no the General Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Labatt Food Service. Al shared with the interns his passion for reading and how the lessons learned from playing basketball transferred to his business strategy today.
- Bulldog Interns have also had the opportunity to go to Omaha to the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting with Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. The event is a great opportunity to hear some of the best business advice a student could ever ask for.
- In the spring student interns get to attend/participate in the Texas Investment Portfolio Symposium. This symposium brings together some of the brightest and most accomplished experts in their respective fields to share their knowledge.